21st Annual Writer’s Digest Annual Self-Published Book Awards
I'm thankful for the feedback of this one judge...
and more so for the feedback of all of you, my readers.
Your words of encouragement, testimony, and hope
because of Where's Heidi? One Sister's Journey
are evidence of God's blessing on this book.
Author: Lisa M Buske
Entry Category: Life Stories
Books are evaluated on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 meaning “needs improvement” and 5 meaning “outstanding”. This scale is strictly to provide a point of reference, it is not a cumulative score and does not reflect ranking.
Structure and Organization: 3
Production Quality and Cover Design: 3
"Where's Heidi? takes a heartbreaking topic, the disappearance of the author's sister, and turns it into an inspirational story for anyone who has lost a family member, either in the mysterious circumstances that the author lost Heidi, or more easily explained ones.
The author delves deep into her own emotions and issues to tell a well-rounded tale with insight and feeling. She doesn't shy away from negative aspects of her own behavior or problems in her life caused by her sister's disappearance and the aftermath, and this gives her story credibility and makes it universal.
The cover is a good choice. She explains in the preface why she didn't use a picture of Heidi and that makes sense. The picture of the scene of the disappearance is almost more poignant than a picture of her sister would be. That said, the book would benefit from more interior family pictures to help round the story up and draw readers in.
The interior production is clean and readable, and the Bible passages are used well and help convey the place God has in the author's life.
The book could use a professional edit to smooth out issues of grammar, spelling, punctuation, sentence structure and publishing style. These issues can be a distraction to readers and a good polish would allow the reader to concentrate more fully on this compelling story and the inspiration it imparts."
*Commentary may be quoted as: “Judge, Writer’s Digest 21st Annual Self-Published Book Awards”
First and foremost, this judge states I took a "heartbreaking topic" and turned it into "an inspirational story for anyone who has lost a family member" - Wow!! As if this isn't a compliment in itself, this judge continues with "a well-rounded tale with insight and feeling. She doesn't shy away from negative aspects of her own behavior or problems...and this gives her story credibility and makes it universal." God is good, this was one of the greatest challenges I faced was to make the story relevant to anyone who has experienced loss - so this was a success!
Yes this judge recommends I have a professional edit (in case you are wondering, I did have one, along with countless eyes reviewing and offering suggestions right up until it went to print - but at some point you have to say, "It's done and it's time.") which has already been done and I'm moving forward with the sequel to Where's Heidi? One Sister's Journey and already know the editor I'm going to ask once I have something to offer her to edit. BUT the most important part of her statement is at the end, "...a good polish would allow the reader to concentrate more fully on this compelling story and the inspiration it imparts." Wow...no offense, I would rather have a "compelling story" that "imparts inspiration" than a well edited, but poorly written book any day.
One thing I learned during the publication process for Where's Heidi? One Sister's Journey is this, there is always something to edit, revise, rewrite, and tinker with in your manuscript. If you never stop tinkering, then you don't finish. Some people work so hard on making it perfect, no one ever reads it. On the flip side, others rush and no one wants to read it. There is a fine line. Is my book perfect? No. Did I think it was? No. Was that the goal of my book? No.
I wrote Where's Heidi? One Sister's Journey to share hope with others grieving the loss of a loved one. The feedback I receive daily via my email, Facebook, Twitter, or in my Post Office box are evidence of God's faithfulness and love for me and each of you. Lives have been changed because one sister shared how God worked through her life, in the darkest years of her life. It's not all pretty but it's all honest with hopes to share the Ultimate Hope and healing...
Here is what a couple said in reply to the judges scores after I posted on Facebook last night:
"The book is your story, and in my humble opinion the grammar and organization helped to convey the emotion and the disconnect that was your life. By the way, it took me 5 months to get the courage to open the book. When I finally did I could not stop reading it. I have heard several other people say they could not put the book down. I doubt that any of these people would agree with Writers Digest." D.A.
"Your message of hope and your journey itself is much more important than the result of a contest. You achieved your ultimate goals. Keep your chin up. Besides, think of how many more people read about the love and sacrifice of Jesus, because of your efforts." D.M.
If you haven't read Where's Heidi? One Sister's Journey, I hope you will. A special congratulations to all the authors who received perfect scores and a round of applause to the ones who received the highest of rankings and won the overall contest too. Everyone with the courage to try is a winner, don't you agree?